Three More Years For Joe

October 28, 2010 – 12:25 pm

Joe GirardiLooks like we will have Joe Girardi to kick around for three more years.  All things considered, I guess I’m OK with that.  Yes, I continually find fault with a lot of Girardi’s game-to-game managing decisions, particularly with regards to pitching strategy.  But the reality is that most of my second-guessing has to do with winning today’s game, with no regard for the “big picture”.  And over the course of the 162-game season, a manager’s goal is obviously not to win every game, but rather to “win the season”.  A lot of Girardi’s decisions, when looked at from a micro point of view can be easily debated.  But it’s hard to criticize them from a macro viewpoint, because you don’t know what Girardi’s “big picture” plan is exactly.  The last month or so of the season is a good case in point.  The Yankees had a lot of players with assorted minor injuries, so a “big picture” plan of (a) just making the playoffs while (b) resting players and getting them healthy and at the same time (c) getting a better feel for what some of the marginal players might be able to contribute in the post-season made a lot of sense.  And that would appear to have been Girardi’s plan.  But of course it backfired, as the Yankees ended up playing pretty terrible baseball overall, and that clearly carried over to the ALCS.  But that’s not to say that the plan wasn’t good — it just didn’t work.

Which brings us to defining exactly what is a “successful” season.  For me, it’s winning a championship.  And in baseball, there are essentially two different championships — the regular season and the post-season.  You win your division championship, I call that a success regardless of what happens in the playoffs.  The playoffs can be very fickle, and just one or two things going wrong can send a team home.  So even if you have a total meltdown in a playoff series, if you have a division trophy already safely in hand, I call that a successful year.  But on the other hand, if you back in to the playoffs via the wild card, then in order to achieve success, you have to win the league championship.  If you get to the playoffs via the back door, and then bomb out — sorry, that’s nothing to brag about.  You lost the division title, but a loop hole in the system gave you a second chance, and you blew that.  Which is exactly what the 2010 Yankees did.

So by my definition of “success”, Girardi is one-for-three.  In 2008, the Yankees didn’t even make the playoffs — but you have to cut Girardi some slack there, as the team he inherited had been on a downhill slide for several years.  But then in 2009 they won it all, making 2009 a very, very successful season (I count the World Series Championship as just the icing on the cake, as the AL championship alone makes the season a success).  And now we’ve had the disappointing season that was 2010 with no championship of any flavor.  Personally I would have liked to see Girardi make a more serious run at the East championship this year, and let the marbles fall where they might with the playoffs.  And had they done that and won the East, Girardi would be two-for-three in my book.  But instead, he gambled that he could give up the East but win the AL, and he lost.  But still, one-for-three ain’t bad — so me, I’m looking forward to three more years with Girardi at the helm.  Go get ’em Joe.

Photo: NewsDay

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